Saturday, June 05, 2010

The Days of Our Lives -- Ken Corday

A long time ago, my wife was a big fan of The Days of Our Lives. Because I was often home when she watched the show, I became familiar with the cast and the storyline. Judy stopped watching the show when her two favorite characters, Doug and Julie, left, but she and I still have fond memories of it and talk about it now and then. We found this backstage memoir entertaining and full of fun facts about this show and others.

There's a lot about the Corday family, too. Ken Corday is the executive producer of the show, which was started by his parents. When his father, Ted, died about a year after the show began, Corday's mother, Betty, took complete control and taught her son all he needed to know to carry on. He'd been a music major and thought he'd have a career in music, maybe even be a star. After all, Lucky Mud, his band, opened Jimi Hendrix's last concert. But things don't always go as planned.

Betty and Ted Corday had careers in radio (Betty worked on The Shadow), so they were well versed in dramatic presentations. And Betty had real knack for titles. When William Bell was thinking of a show called The Young and Impatient, Betty suggested The Young and the Restless. She also suggested that a show tentatively titled As the Earth Turns become As the World Turns and that The Edge of Darkness be changed to The Edge of Night. Corday's book is full of great trivia like that, as well as stories about all the stars. There's a spooky one about MacDonald Carey's ghostly presence on the set, for instance, and a good one about Doug and Julie's real-life marriage. If you're a fan of the show (or of any soap opera), The Days of Our Lives is a must-read book. Even casual viewers will get a kick out of some of the inside stories. Pop culture fans, too. There's a wealth of real TV history here. Not to mention that Ken Corday's had quite a life. Check it out.

8 comments:

  1. And now for today's edition of "Brush With Greatness":

    As a one-time resident of Morgantown, WV, I saw Bill Hayes (Doug) and wife Susan Seaforth (Julie) at a downtown theater that was showing Scent of a Woman (Hoo-hah!), so this would probably have been around 1992. I didn't approach them, however, because I wasn't particularly a DOOL (as my friend Tammy would call it) fan...and the only thing I remembered Hayes for was that he had the big hit version of The Ballad of Davy Crockett.

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  2. Judy's going to be jealous.

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  3. I don't think I ever watched DOOL, but I have to admit, I followed "General Hospital" back in my high school days. This was waaay before the Luke, Laura, and Demi Moore period. John Beredino was the good doctor and Roy Thinnes was the bad-boy doctor. As far as I can tell, the modern crop of prime-time medical soaps follow pretty much the same template, only with more sex, blood, and kinkiness.

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  4. Anonymous10:35 AM

    Jackie still watches it occasionally (she really liked ANOTHER WORLD better but when that was cancelled...) and said to tell Judy that Doug & Julie do pop up from time to time.

    I also remember ""The Ballad of Davy Crockett" as one of the first records I ever owned. It came as a surprise years later to realize it was the same Bill Hayes.

    Jeff

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  5. I'll tell Judy about Doug and Julie. Doug had been around for a while before she started watching the show, and we didn't know until after she'd watched for a while that he was the one who'd had a hit with the Crockett song.

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  6. Jerry House1:32 PM

    My wife recently weaned herself off DOOL. I cheered.

    (When I told her that Bill Hayes had sung "Davy Crockett", she said that he hadn't sung in tune ever since.)

    The main thing I remember about DOOL is that the Frances Reid character was always offering homemade doughnuts to solve every manner of problem. Times were simpler then. And doughnuts healthier, I guess.

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  7. My mom watched DAYS when I was growing up (which coincided with the Doug and Julie years), so of course I did, too. My mom went back to work and gave it up, but I was hooked and continued watching DAYS and GH off and on into adulthood (usually on tape). What a time suck!

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  8. I never watched DAYS, but I was a fan of GH back in the Eighties. The best soap, though, was THE EDGE OF NIGHT, which was written for many, many years by mystery author Henry Slesar.

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